With just 26 days to the end of 2017, Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is yet to present the state’s 2018 budget to the state assembly.
Ambode has generally been unable to ensure early presentation of any of his budgets so far. His first budget for 2016 was presented on December 17, 2015; while he submitted his second slightly earlier on November 29, 2016.
Fashola’s budgets: Ambode’s predecessor, Babatunde Fashola, generally presented his budget before December. His last four budgets were presented to the assembly on November 14, 2011; October 31, 2012; October 30, 2013; and November 24, 2014.
That’s not to say that there were not times when Fashola presented budgets in December. His first budget was presented on December 17, 2007 – coincidentally, the same day Ambode submitted his first in 2015. His only other December budget was the 2011 budget (an election year) which was presented on December 14, 2010.
2018 budget: It is expected that the Lagos 2018 budget will hit the trillion naira mark, which will make it only the second state to do so after Cross River, whose governor Ben Ayade presented a N1.3 trillion naira budget for 2018.
Under Fashola, the budget hovered between N400 billion to N500 billion between 2008 to 2014. However Ambode’s first budget of N662.59 billion was a 35.31% increase over Fashola’s last budget of N489.69 billion. The governor’s second budget of N812.99 billion was further 22.7% increase over that 2016.
Why this matters: The expected increase in the 2018 budget makes early submission even more imperative to give the lawmakers ample time to deliberate. It should be pointed out however that conventionally, the Lagos assembly basically passes the budget presented by the state governor without alterations. The last three budgets have been passed with the exact figures submitted by the governors.
Why this delay: It is unclear why Gov. Ambode has been unable to present the 2018 budget up till now. However there are speculations that it may have to do with the fact that the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Akinyemi Ashade, has an unwieldy workload. In addition to that udget portfolio, Ashade is also the supervising commissioner in charge of the Ministry of Finance.